7 Oct 2010

Ban below-cost alcohol

News reports indicate the coalition government is looking to reform licensing laws, starting with banning the sale of below-cost alcohol. Great stuff indeed - The Gazette covered this story locally earlier in the year but now it looks like it will be happening.

It has been recognised by many bodies that selling alcohol below cost price encourages the binge-drinking. This has serious health impacts on our communities and neighbourhoods, and Greens have long pushed for the banning of such loss-leading offers. This summer Tesco was selling wine bottles below £1.50 and in one place as little as £1.11. Yet they have argued they support the Government's efforts to ban giveaway prices. That was surely yet another example of why supermarkets cannot be allowed to police themselves. It is no wonder many of us want a strong watchdog.

Time and time again residents have asked why such weak licensing legislation means they must put up with disruption and intrusion. We call on the government to hold true to their promise of reform to empower the council to make positive decisions for local people.


Garrat Elector said...

Where exactly is this so-called "below cost alcohol"? The only place I have heard of it before is on scare-mongering media trying to whip up hysteria about how the poor are allowed to drink too much, and probably having too much fun on benefits as well!

I've never seen any but would snap it up if I did, because with a low income you need to save money.

weggis said...

How can you complain about Supermarkets making vast profits and then also complain when they make a loss providing a social welfare service in the form of cheap alcohol for pensioners and those on low incomes?

Andy said...

Cheap booze is not drunk by most pensioners or low income but binge drinkers

weggis said...

That's Bx! Cheap booze is drunk by people who can't afford expensive plonk!

"Binge" drinkers are usually found in or outside nightclubs, not renowned for their cheap alcohol.

Philip Booth said...

Even Telegraph says cheap booze is fuelling drinking...


Well actually it was a study a couple of years ago at Sheffield Uni - 800,000 alcohol related admissions to hospital!!!! Britain now on the verge of a "tsunami" of alcohol-related health problems.

Britain has the highest levels of social alcohol-related harm in Europe and our alcohol-related cirrhosis figures are particularly shocking.

Since the 1990s the UK drinks industry has become an ever more aggressive market with huge advertising budgets that blur the distinction between pop and alcohol and encourage ever stronger drinks.

All the evidence shows we need to restrict alcohol availability, increase the price and ban advertising.

We need a radical strategy on prevention. That includes:

- stopping the drinks industry from encouraging excessive drinking by banning advertisements, happy hours and certain promotions like below-cost.

- like Australia and Ireland, abandon the longer hours.

- increase price slowly. Medical opinion argues there will be no lessening of alcohol problems until the cost of drink returns to the relative prices of the 1970s. Western Australia with such an approach, has dramatically reduced binge drinking.

Philip Booth said...

PS Increases will hit low income as well as binge drinkers - but an Aberdeen study found they would not be hit harder. See BBC report: